Step 4: Machine that Wax!

Picture of Machine that Wax!
Out of the mold, the wax will have a HUGE sink mark in the middle; I usually just clamp the sides of the block and face off about ¼” to get it flat.  Then I flip the block and machine to thickness.  If you are carful and clean your vacuum ahead of time, you can save the chips to re-melt later.  I keep a container nearby where I store my wax chips.

Recycle Your Wax

When recycling your wax, I recommend using no more than 50%-75% reground wax.  This is due to the fact that plastics degrade rapidly when heated (think compost) and can start to smoke/burn/ignite if you are not careful.  Therefore, start by melting paraffin wax, adding new bags and THEN adding your recycled wax.

Good luck and be safe!
kwhitacre2 years ago
Oh, I almost forgot. If you recycle a clean pair of panty hose or knee-high hose you can vacuum up the pieces without it going into your vacuum. Place the nylon over the hose. Tape or clamp it to the side of the hose so it cannot be sucked up. When you vacuum it will catch the small items and you can reclaim them easily. I use this to clean up spilled beads and sewing pins. Works like a charm. But before you turn off the suction be sure to hold the end of the hose up, as everything may fall out again when the air isn't sucking it into the foot of the hose.

theres an idea

Machine1 year ago

That's a very nice instructable and thanks for all the sensible cautions and it is easy to see that you have thought carefully about the text of this instructable.

inciteman1 year ago

I used the fiberglass mesh for windows screens and it worked fine! About $7 for a roll! 36" x 84"

DRH20142 years ago
Have you tried burning the wax off of the strainer? If you get a metal colander you can just burn of the wax. (Outside of course)
st_indigo2 years ago
I just finished my CNC router build and found your excellent instructable while researching machinable wax. I am going to give it a try soon. Thanks for the clear instructions and thoughts on safety.
Horsehockey2 years ago
Great Instructable. Looking forward to more of your good ideas. Have you tried melting gallon milk jugs? I buy water in the gallon jugs. On the bottom they are marked HDPE. I have daydreamed of a way to get them into a plastic state so they could be pressed into a mold. I see that you are working at 300 degrees. Wonder what it would take to melt the thicker material. You have provided me with a wonderful starting place.
Thanks for the inspiration to get me started.
kwhitacre2 years ago
Wow. I read this eagerly as I need to create some wax masters for lost wax casting. The wax in all of the art world is expensive. I am considering trying your machinable wax for this purpose. I noticed only the good directions, cautions and photos. I did not notice spelling or grammar until I read it in the comments. Please dismiss the untoward comments. I LOVE your post. It is great info and timely for me. I, too, would like to hear more about your CNC.
stevfuri2 years ago
What CNC machine are you using in these photos?
haven't got a clue...sorry...if you describe it, maybe i can find one around here?
*sigh* Guys in the kitchen! LOL!!!!!

To avoid someones wife getting opinionated about where HER deep fryer has gone off to---git yer own! Try the thrift stores and Sal Army or Goodwill first or go directly to Craigslist. This also avoids having to sneak the thing back into the kitchen after use---and how exactly ARE you goin' to 'splain any drips????

To strain a simple and cheap solution might be to use a Chinese wok skimmer/strainer---these have a bamboo handle with a brass "mesh" (some have better mesh than others!) attached in a shallow bowl shape; These are a very few bucks and being that they are metal with a fairly wide space between could be useful for those chunks but not clog. They come in several lengths and bowl sizes. Try an Asian market for the best selection and pricing. You can also buy regular stainless strainer spoons at thrifts or other sources or even new for a few bucks---if you really want a custom size buy a large cooking serving spoon with a long handle to avoid getting burned and then drill or make "slices" across the bowl to the size you need. Polish. Done!

Great idea by the way---remember how spendy hard dopping wax was back when I used to do gems---and sealing wax the same! Prob could use your formula for these uses and carving as a to-be-cast project in addition. Thanks!
veeguy2 years ago
Fantastic Idea! I have both a CNC router and a milling machine. I had a quantity of machinable plastic, foam and wax free samples I have gone through. I was *shocked* by the prices of machinable waxes and plastics. I needed some 4" X 4" X 6" blocks, and they wanted $65.- each!

The main problem I can foresee is sneaking the french fryer out of the kitchen and into my basement "Little Shop of Horrors".

-And your spelling and grammer is OK by me. The complainer is obviously a frustrated English teacher.
mdlee19582 years ago
Hi. I am really impressed with this instructable. I am just starting out as a hobbyist in machining I am curious if you have tried the "Lost-wax" casting method with this wax?
Great instructible. I'm looking forward to making a batch. Your setup looks great too.
Machine2 years ago
This is a nicely written instructable - you've got a good skill at this and you've made creating the machinable wax blocks a lot easier. Thank you.
lahines2 years ago
You can raise the paraffin wax melting point by adding stearic acid available at candle making supply craft stores.
cjraabe2 years ago
This looks so interesting, I'm trying to think how I could use machinable wax. For straining the finished product, how about squares of metal screen (door screen) bent over a metal form? Or what have you tried to clean your strainer?